He's our boy, says proud father
When his 10-year-old son climbs into his lap and tells him he loves him, Hank Randall knows becoming a foster father was the best decision he ever made.
Randall, 57, and wife Chris began fostering the boy three years ago.
"My wife and I wanted to have our own kids but that didn't happen, so we went down the adoption road, and when that didn't happen we looked into fostering," he said.
"After we went through the process they rang us and said they had a boy for us."
Now he considered the boy "my own son".
"We've all accepted him as part of our family and he'll be part of it for life as far as we're concerned. He's our boy; we call him our son," he said.
"It has been amazing to see this lovely young man develop to his full potential and for us to be a part of that. The whole experience has been wonderful.
"There will be these special moments that may seem silly to other people but are so important to us. Like when he climbs on to me and tells me he loves me or just says, ‘I'm so glad I'm home'.
"It's incredible hearing that."
The boy had planned a full day of celebration for Father's Day tomorrow, he said.
"He's organised a breakfast and dinner. He's so organised my wife actually had to tell him to relax," Randall said.
The boy had written a poem detailing why he loved Randall.
"I haven't heard it yet but I've heard it's pretty touching," Randall said.
He also has a 33-year-old son, and his experiences of raising the two have been very different.
"With my first son I was a lot younger myself and now I have a lot more life experience and know how to deal with things differently," he said.
"I also knew his whole background, so when he reacted in a certain way I'd know why.
The couple would look at fostering another child. "The sheer satisfaction of seeing this person who was initially an outsider and may not have had the best start in life, and then seeing them gradually become part of your family, is immense," he said.
"We'd do it again and we think anyone who is thinking about it should, too."
❏ For more information about becoming a foster parent, call Adele Sherry on 029 650 1830 or toll-free on 0508 FAMILY (0508 326459).